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The Faces of Fair Chances: Jack Morris' Story

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

At the re-launch event of LA County’s Fair Chance Hiring Initiative, we unveiled an art installation by photographer Brandon Tauszik with portraits of several Los Angeles system-impacted individuals.

Courtesy of TaskForce - Photo by Brandon Tauszik
" System-impacted people are goal-oriented, and if you can teach somebody how to do it, they can become one of your best employees.”

- Jack Morris


Every year, more than 60,000 individuals return from incarceration in LA County, looking to start anew. This is the story of Jack Morris, a Program Manager at the RISE Reentry Program, St. John’s Community Health who’s been home for 5 1/2 years.

Jack Morris dreams of someday owning a ranch in Montana. Until then, he plans to continue his meaningful work serving the formerly incarcerated community. As a system-impacted individual, Jack is an essential connector between St. John’s Community Health and others who have had experiences like his. He can understand and speak to the barriers his clients may face as they navigate reentry. “They're goal-orientated,” Jack says, speaking about those who have been in the system. “When you bring a person into an employment environment, their job is not to step on anybody to move forward. Their job is to try and move forward with assistance while also providing assistance, and that benefits the whole organization.”



Elena Fernandez and Jack Morris
Courtesy of TaskForce - Photo by Brandon Tauszik
"We begin by hiring people who represent our community, whether it's race, socioeconomic status, incarceration history – our peers. That's how we prioritize. We support our mission and vision."

- Elena Fernandez, Chief Programs Officer, St. John’s Community Health and Jack Morris’ Supervisor






After working in the criminal justice and legal field abroad for almost 10 years, Elena Fernandez was fueled by a passion to uplift and support her hometown and decided to move back to her own community. Elena believes in Fair Chance hiring because she had an uncle who was impacted by the system who never got the opportunity to succeed in employment. Now as an employer, Elena says it is her responsibility, as well as other organizations’ and companies’, to provide these opportunities and help stop the cycles of recidivism. “We support the Fair Chance Act because it promotes social justice,” she says. “It combats poverty, racism. It allows an opportunity for members to reintegrate into the community and be able to provide their own experience as a tool to become healthy individuals in the community.”


When Elena speaks of Jack Morris’ work at St. John’s Community Health, she lights up. As his manager, she speaks to his connection and understanding of the clients he works with and his dedication to the organization. “We trust them,” she says. “Most of our staff in the reentry program have been here well over two years, and they've been committed to the mission.”


Don't miss out on hiring incredible “ready to work” fair-chance employees like Jack–who are waiting to contribute to your company's success. Join the LA County Fair Chance Hiring Initiative and become a pledged LA County Fair Chance Hiring employer today!


Courtesy of TaskForce - Photo by Brandon Tauszik


*Portraits in this post were taken by Brandon Tauszik, with stories compiled by Alisha Jucevik.


Contributors


Brian Stewart, MPP, MDR Manager, Stakeholder Engagement LeadersUp

Brian Stewart, MPP, MDR

Manager, Stakeholder Engagement

LeadersUp

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